13 Aug 8 Essential Back-To-School Tips
August is here already! The summer has flown by and it’s that time of year again…back to school. Some of your little ones may have already returned to school and others are gearing up to get back into the swing of things.
For most parents, this time of year send a sheer panic with all of the to-dos that come with back to school…shopping for supplies, buying new uniforms, adjusting schedules for pick up and drop off, after school activities, packing lunches, and the dreaded homework.
This also means the lazy days of summer, the sleeping ins and staying up lates are gone. And you have to now get into a predictable schedule. Or so we hope…
The first few weeks can be challenging to get back in the swing of things because most of us allow our children stay up later during the summer. Those early mornings are dreaded and can be rough, for both kiddos and parents.
Returning your children to a proper schedule can be quite the ordeal without a game plan. I’ve got you cover with my 8 essential back to school tips. These should get your little ones’ snooze cycle back in sync just in time for school.
Don’t wait until school starts
It’s hard to snap back into a proper bedtime in one night, especially after two months of late bedtimes. Your child’s body needs time to adjust, so about two weeks before school starts, begin moving back bedtime by 15 minutes, for 3 nights at a time, until you reach desired bedtime.
Set a timer
This is an easy scapegoat. It deflects the blame away from you. It’s not you hustling them off to bed; it’s the timer! It can also be a fun game to hurry and get ready for bed before the timer goes off. For every night they beat the clock, put a sticker on the calendar, and offer a reward for a perfect week.
Turn off those screens
TV, phone screens, and computers all emit blue light, which tricks our internal clocks to thinking it’s still daytime, inhibiting our natural melatonin production. I recommend turning off electronics after dinnertime and keeping them off until the next day. But if that’s too much to ask, at least an hour before bedtime. (This goes for you, too Mom and Dad!)
Routine, routine, routine
I preach this one ALL.THE.TIME. I don’t care if your child is going to kindergarten or 12th grade! A good sleep routine is essential. A routine is not just about physically getting ready for bed. A routine signals our brain that we are transitioning out of day and into night and sleep is to follow. A routine cues the brain that bedtime is near, as the brain begins shutting down in preparation for sleep.
Schedule an appropriate bedtime
Every child is different, so you probably have an idea of when they should go to bed. That being said, I hope your idea is 8:00pm! I can hear some of you now, “My child doesn’t even get tired until 10:00 or 10:30, so I figure…” And I’m going to stop you right there. 8:00pm. Every. Night. No later. Kids needs minimally 10 hours of sleep per night, so until you can wake them up and get them ready for school at lightening speed, 8:00pm it is.
Allow some reading time
Whether your child is an independent reader or you’re reading to them, a half hour of book time is a great way to wind down before going to sleep. The repetitive eye movement and low-level brain activity is a natural sedative. This is one of the reasons many of us find ourselves nodding off while reading to our kiddos.
Keep the room dark and cool
The sun is still up late into the evenings and rises early, even through September, so make sure you’ve got a good pair of blackout curtains. That sun also has a pesky habit of heating up bedrooms, so make sure your thermostat is set at an appropriate temperature for sleeping. Ideal sleeping temperature is between 68-72 degrees.
Older kiddos with cell phones can be tempted to sneak a few extra minutes of texting, scrolling through social media or the web if they have their phones in their rooms at night. Change the rules around phones in the bedroom. Keep the charger in the kitchen, and have them plug it in at night before bedtime, and they can their precious phone back in the morning.
The quality and quantity of sleep children get has a profound impact on how they learn and retain information, interact with others, and cope with day to day life. Creating healthy sleep habits will not only ensure your home is peaceful at bedtime and in the morning but will also set your child up for lifelong learning (and life) success.
Should you need personalized support and sleep advice, don’t hesitate to reach out. I can help you work through your children’s individual struggles to improve sleep for your entire family.